I recently read a letter from someone who said they couldn’t continue ‘walking on egg shells’ forever to maintain a relationship. That really struck a raw nerve. Who hasn’t had this experience? And who hasn’t been relieved when it was over? What the one who penned this line may not have given a thought to was, perhaps the other person in the relationship was ‘walking on egg shells’ too.
A curious turn of phrase, walking on egg shells. By that we mean we’re putting up with someone, we’re swallowing our pride or our good sense or whatever makes us feel we’re better or smarter or more correct than the other person, and just letting them ‘walk all over us.’ It’s an unfailing recipe for instant martyrdom complex. Why we paint ourselves into this kind of corner is beyond me. Do we do it for money, or out of fear of rejection?
Actually, fear is probably the motivating factor, the universal principle—just plain fear. Even when we rationalize it, and say we’re doing it for ‘love’ or for ‘peace’ or for some other worthy purpose. We do it because we don’t want to face something or someone, in the truth, at least the truth as we know it. That’s why I say, it’s painting oneself into a corner.
Walking on egg shells, though, is very similar to something else we do, following the instructions of the Lord: covering the offenses of others, for love’s sake. We remember the scripture that says, ‘Love covers all offenses’ (Proverbs 10:12), and we follow it. Why? Because we love the other person, and we know the Word is true. The love, though, makes all the difference.
Putting up with someone is a far cry from loving them, isn’t it? If I’m walking on egg shells I am pretending to love, and some part of me can’t go on in this way for ever. It tires out. It begins to count the cost. It begins to divide. It builds walls. It begins to grumble, then to accuse. If there ever was a kernel of love there, it pops it.
And nothing grows from popped corn.
But love is not like this. Love never tires. Love never stops giving. Love never takes back its words or its gifts. Love never fights back. Love never accepts defeat. Love never slams the door, but keeps its door open, even if just a crack. Love isn’t afraid. Nothing can rob love. Love never loses anything or anyone. Love covers all offenses without qualification. Love waits.
There really is almost nothing that love cannot do. Almost nothing, the same as we say of the Lord. He can do everything. He is almighty, yet He cannot force the will of a sinner, though He can help a saint who comes to Him defenseless, weaponless, and with open arms. When we say that God is love, repeating the scriptures, we confess of Him what is also true of us.
If He did not create us to love, He didn’t create us at all. But He did create us, and so what are the consequences? Did He make a mistake to make us out of the dust of the earth and then breathe heaven itself into us? Can we continue living in a world we have made, walking on egg shells, instead of freeing ourselves to live in His world, where we don’t walk, but run?
Draw me in your footsteps, let us run.
The King has brought me into His rooms…
Song of Songs, 1:4